Google +1 Button’s Impact on Paid Search and Organic Results

Google has officially released a “+1 Button” for their search results, which looks to be an interesting prelude to what may be an eventual foray into the social realm. We’re still assessing the full implications on SEO best practices and how it will affect organic rankings vs paid searches, but I thought the below were some interesting implications on what the +1 button will and will not impact as it relates to both paid search and organic search. (Download the Official One-Sheeter: onesheeter__50_)

Paid Search Advertising through Google Adwords:

  • Google +1 will launch in ads as well as organic listings, this is NOT just an organic refinement, users will be able to +1 your ads and their contacts will see those +1s listed below the ad (example below)
Google Adwords +1

Google Adwords +1

  • Whether or not a user +1ed your ad does not factor into our Quality Score calculation for your ads, however, we do expect that +1ed ads will have slightly higher CTRs (given the new layer of information included), which could impact your ad performance and positioning. (Note: A/B testing will be near impossible since all ads will be +1 enabled, but signals like the number of +1s an ad has will be important to look at when optimizing
  • +1s will live at the Destination URL level (final landing page, not a clickserve or redirect tracking URL). So if you change an ad text but use the same landing page, the +1s will persist.
  • Reporting will continue to evolve after launch – It will live on the Dimensions tab for both ad group level and creative level reporting (under the ‘Free Clicks’ report).
  • The +1 feature is only available on, not on Search Partners or the GDN.

Organic Search Rankings

  • Google WILL incorporate the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of websites in search results.
  • When your ad is +1’d, Google notes its final landing page URL. When the same URL appears in an organic search listing, the organic listing will include the same personalized annotations as would an ad.
  • In the future, we will launch +1 for sites, where users can +1 a page while they are browsing it, these +1s will translate to Organic Search, and impact ranking of those individual pages (Anyone else see a similarity with the Facebook “like” button?)

Potential Impact:

  • Makes search social: Searchers can make informed decisions based on information AND recommendations from their networks. Search results can improve with recommendations and become personal.
  • Too early to tell: The impact to paid/SEO depends on user adoption. Once the button is available on websites, adoption may take off. Facebook currently dominates the social graph and Google’s previous attempts at entering the social space have been less than spectacular (ie. Google Wave and Buzz).

Additional reading:


2 Responses to “Google +1 Button’s Impact on Paid Search and Organic Results”
  1. I am excited to see the effects. I bet that a +1 is like casting a vote and somehow affects a website’s ranking. The analogy is that, if people will “vote” for your site, most likely, it will be more relevant to the end-users. This will, in turn, may give the website an extra edge.


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